The confluence of football and basketball seasons began this weekend as eager parents congregated in Cameron Indoor to watch the Blue-White basketball game while the gridiron Blue Devils were pounded by Vanderbilt in Wallace Wade.

The Blue-White game was as newsworthy as its ever been because of the sheer uncertainty surrounding this year’s squad. And the leading news was the performance of freshman center Brian Zoubek, who poured in 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting.

TDD posters in attendance have provided mixed reviews on the performance of Josh McRoberts, DeMarcus Nelson and others. But all attest that which we’ve all anticipated–this Duke team is athletic, and is going to attempt to capitalize on that as best it can by pushing the ball up the floor on offense, and by playing the high-pressure defense that Duke has arguably been a little less proficient at in recent years due to a lack of lateral quickness.

Regardless, this squad is very much a work in progress. The inconsistency will be more severe than fans have grown accustomed to, and patience will be required as Duke finds its way. Either way, Coach K’s excited for the process:

It’s going to be fun trying to see how we put this whole damn thing together. I’m excited about it. We haven’t had to do this for a while, and it’s good.

Despite assigning a spy to contain quarterback Chris Nickson, the Blue Devil football team had a helluva time slowing the shifty dual threat, as he compiled 400 yards of total offense –250 in the air, 150 on the ground–en route to a 45-28 victory.

Nickson’s a future star in the SEC, but is very much an imperfect player. But Duke didn’t come out with the certitude it did a week ago when it nearly upset an arguably superior team. And it has been that inconsistency that has bedeviled Duke’s players, coaches and supporters alike. Time is running out for the Blue Devils to pick up their first win of the season.

And the media scrutiny will only get worse. Duke now has the most-prolonged losing streak in the nation because the Temple Owls cruised past Bowling Green on Saturday.

Head coach Ted Roof shares everyone’s disappointment:

It’s disappointing certainly. This is not how we expect to play. This is not how we prepare to play. We gave up way too many yards after missed tackles…. That game came down to our not tackling very well.

The women’s cross country team, which had been one of the nation’s best the past two seasons, has been trying to find its identity after having graduated a bevy of talented seniors. Duke took a big step Saturday by placing second in the uber-competitive ACC Championships, in which eight-ranked teams competed.

The Blue Devils probably do not have the legs to finish as well as they had in 2004 and 2005, but Duke is very much back in a position to make some noise at the NCAAs.

The men’s squad came in right behind Virginia in the men’s championships, near the middle of the pack.

The No. 4 field hockey team downed Virginia in its regular season finale. Duke, which has advanced to the national championship game for three consecutive seasons, will face its steepest competitors at the upcoming ACC Championships, where Wake Forest, Maryland and North Carolina await. Each is capable of winning the national title–and each has at least one championship in the past decade, except Duke.

Advertisements